Early last Friday morning, the U.S. House Agriculture Committee approved its version of the 2024 Farm Bill. This came after more than 13 hours of spirited debate between the Republican and Democratic committee members over the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024.

In his opening comments prior to the discussion, Committee Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson said, “I firmly believe the legislation before us today restores a robust rural economy, invests in America’s farmers, ranchers, and foresters, and bolsters every facet of American agriculture. And having seen the widespread support from stakeholders across this country, I believe we have achieved that goal.” In the end, the Republican party got the four Democratic votes needed to consider the bill as bipartisan.

The bill received mixed reviews from various agricultural groups. Overall, many are pleased to see action that could lead to a new, much-needed farm bill.

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) thanked committee members from both parties in a press release and highlighted many provisions that would benefit dairy producers. This included an extension of the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program through 2029, support for the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act to improve school milk consumption, and additional funding for dairy trade promotion programs and the protection of common food names.

Of course, the farm bill goes way beyond dairy and production agriculture. The food and nutrition programs receive a majority of the funding, and much of Friday’s discussion focused on spending for those programs. The House’s version of the bill needs to be reconciled with the Senate’s proposal, which was released at the beginning of the month but has not gone through a markup by the Senate’s Agriculture Committee.

Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, released a statement following the House’s markup of their bill. “I’m glad that Chairman Thompson is working to move the process forward so that we can complete our work on the 2024 Farm Bill this year,” she said. “Despite areas of common ground, it is now clear that key parts of the House bill split the Farm Bill Coalition in a way that makes it impossible to achieve the votes to become law. And it is also clear that we do not have time to waste on proposals that cannot meet that goal.”

While any action is good news, the journey to a new farm bill still has a long way to go. The current farm bill, written in 2018, was extended through September 30 of this year.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2024
May 27, 2024
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